On May 14, The City of Asheville and its partners celebrated the official opening of the 1.2 mile French Broad River Greenway Extension. The West Asheville bike and pedestrian route represents the longest continuous stretch in the city’s greenway system and connects to one of the city’s most-utilized park facilities, Carrier Park, to the Hominy Creek Park. The link provides a 3.25 mile connector to the French Broad River Park.
Speaking at the opening, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy heralded the greenway as a step in the right direction toward Council’s strategic goal of green initiatives, encouraging alternative transportation, preservation of green space, protection of wildlife and keeping people connected with Asheville’s natural surroundings.
Like any large initiative, establishing the greenway relied on a long list of partnerships both public and private. The greenway route crosses land owned by the City of Asheville and Buncombe County, and required easements by Progress Energy, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and MSD. Not to mention that the greenway crosses the Asheville Outdoor Center and Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park. The owners of both those businesses were on hand at the ribbon cutting.
Obtaining the necessary easements, planning and design for the greenway constitute five years of work across several city departments and relied on funding from the NC DOT.
“This started a long time ago, and it took a lot of partners to make this possible,” said Asheville’s Director of Parks Recreation and Cultural Arts Roderick Simmons.
Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones also credited the collaboration between city and county leaders and personnel in getting the job done. “I think that connection is just wonderful,” Jones said.
The City of Asheville Parks, Recreation, Cultural Arts and greenways Master Plan was approved by Asheville City Council in 2009. For more information on the plan, click here.